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The Butterfly Gospel

January 24, 2012

Martin Luther once said, “God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and flowers, and clouds, and stars.”


Indeed, nature has delivered some of the most amazing sermons to me over the years.  (And judging from the words found in the previous post – “Lessons from the Beech Trees” – it sounds as though Dixie would agree.)

One of those “sermons” took place last year on Easter Sunday.  As the kids were out hunting for eggs near one of the trees at Grandma and Grandpa Steinborn’s house, we spotted a beautiful butterfly resting on the ground.  Its wings were rhythmically opening and closing – over and over again.   Sidney went right up to it and stuck her finger underneath it’s body.  It climbed onto her finger and I could tell that she was beside herself with happiness.  However, because she was so afraid that it would fly away……….she just stood there – very still and very calm.

The butterfly incident remained the hot topic throughout the rest of day for Sidney.  She kept talking about how  holding the butterfly was “like magic”.  I referred to her a couple of times as the “butterfly whisperer”.  We talked about how her encounter with the butterfly was a very nice Easter gift.

But, as I look back on that encounter, I can see that Sidney wasn’t the only one “whispering” that day.  The butterfly, too, did some whispering of its own that day.  If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember many specifics from the sermon that was preached at church that morning.  This isn’t to say that it wasn’t a wonderful sermon.  I remember who delivered the sermon, and his messages are ones by which I have always been moved.  However, the simple Easter message that was whispered by the butterfly that afternoon is the one that still echoes loud and clear.

Once a lowly caterpillar, this butterfly was now enjoying a new life – a very different life – as one of the most beautiful creatures in existence.

Not long ago, it had been bound to a life in the dirt – crawling on its belly – laboring in its daily search for nourishment.  It existed to work.  It worked to exist.

But now – miraculously –  it was a creature of a very different kind.  It was now free.  It was beautiful. It was no longer bound to a life in the dirt.  Its search for nourishment was now much different than before….it had become a search filled with enjoyment and exploration, rather than boundary-filled labor.  It was still.  It was peaceful.  And last – but not least – it exhibited complete trust by gently (and without hesitation) crawling onto the finger of someone much, much bigger than itself……..someone who was beyond thrilled to accept its step of faith.

What a beautiful picture of the gospel – the good news – that Christ offers to us.  So beautiful.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  -2 Corinthians 5:17-

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